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Dec 15, 2006


Every year it was a big family tradition for my father to go out a week before Christmas and bring home the family Christmas tree. Off he went, with axe in hand, to bring home our beautiful fresh tree. Now, back in the day, you could just go anywhere where the land wasn't "owned" and chop down a tree. Then you brought her home, trimmed her up, and spent six or seven hours fitting her in the stand. (Could of been a him, I don't know..) But as the years went by, it seemed that all land was owned by neighbors or somebody looking for a mountain getaway. So, Daddy had to sneak off and get a tree. One time he brought home what we called the Charlie Brown tree. It was a scraggly little rascal, and my mother and me took one look at it, and starting giggling. Which of course made Daddy fly hot. We spent an hour convincing him that it was a wonderful tree, and no we didn't want him to throw it over the hill, or chop it up, or run out and chop down another one to satisfy "the ungrateful, and mean-spirited women." In the end, Daddy drilled some holes in the tree and stuffed some other branches in it, and once decorated, it became a beautiful little tree.

Years passed, and I had my own family. I heard from my brother about the latest tree adventure. My parents were older now, and my brother, having retired from the navy, had moved back home. This is going to sound cruel, but my brother and father, on their way to get a tree, loaded up some stray cats, and took them with them, so as to find a suitable place to "drop" them. Meaning they took the cats to turn them loose and let them find another home. They drove until they came to a what appeared to be an uninhabited stretch of woods, and not seeing any houses, they turned the cats loose. Much to their surprise, they all took off and ran under some old house they had not seen. As they were getting in the truck, a man burst through the front door, in a t-shirt and his underwear, and said, "Hey, why don't you come back and get your Goddamn cats!!" Of course they jumped in the truck and drove off, quickly, with their heads ducked down. Down the road aways they had to pull over to side, they were laughing so hard. My father, according to my brother, laughed so hard he almost swallowed his chewing tobacco.

They finally found a likely spot to look for a tree. Now, remember, they are breaking the law. Even if the land was owned by the state or some god awful power company, you weren't supposed to steal trees. However, they proceded into the wooded area, cautiously looking around, expecting a game warden to jump out and give them ticket or something. They found a tree, and looking around one more time, started to chop it down. Then my brother heard chopping when he wasn't chopping. He walked around, using brush and trees for cover, and saw several other lawbreakers chopping for all they were worth. So, there were other lawbreakers in the area. They got their tree and loaded up in the back of the truck.

A few days later, the cats started showing up. Just like a Disney movie they were finding their way home, and why not? Daddy always fed the cats, made sure they had a nice place out of the weather to sleep, and even if they all had the same name, (Cat), why should the cats fend for themselves, when an old man will do it for you? Daddy always said it was punishment for breaking the law, or either they man in the underwear tracked them down, and was just returning the "Goddamn" cats. It was shortly thereafter that Daddy took the plunge and bought an artificial tree.

My dear Mother's comment, "Well, at least we don't have to water it..."

4 comments:

Goddess said...

That's why we love to get our tree at 2 or 3 a.m. You can get it anywhere ya want to at that time of night;)
Private property, my ass.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

When I was a kid, I worked on a "Christmas tree" farm, trimming and shaping them. $.50 cents an hour. It was hot, hard, dangerous work, as the machete's we had to use were razor sharp. Come Christmas, Dad being the non lawbreaker he was, went to that same farm to get a tree. $9 a tree, which back then, was one hell of a lot of money!

We went home treeless. But Dad took me out in the wee hours of the morning to that farm....."I think you earned one free tree, don't you?" and we got it.:) Not one of the ones I worked so hard to trim, but beside that field, still on his property, was a bunch growing wild.

Bruno said...

Might not have to water it, but ya' still have to put it up, and decorate it! Of course, I'm sure that somewhere, there's a jackass who's already written a program for a "virtual, digital Christmas Tree"!

Spadoman said...

Thank you for sharing bits and pieces of yourself with us.

My Mom and Dad always bought a "real" tree from a place in the neighborhood, (Suburban Chicago), called Amlings Flowerland. They had this big room full of real evergreens and they were flocked. Sprayed with some kind of fake snow on the tips of the branches.

My Dad knew he had arrived when in the late 1950's, early 1960's or sometime thereabouts, he bought a silver aluminum branched put together Christmas tree that came in a box.

We never had cats or dogs or houseplants. I brought home a cat once. I don't remember what happened to it. The goldfish got flushed, that I DO remember.